Arsene Wenger has blamed the France national team for Abou Diaby’s latest injury set-back, claiming they lacked any foresight.
The Arsenal manager revealed the 26-year-old will miss the next three weeks with a thigh strain after having to come off early in the Gunners’ 2-1 loss to Chelsea on Saturday at Emirates Stadium.
Wenger believes that playing for Les Bleus in the World Cup qualifier against Finland, where he picked up an injury, so soon after spending the best part of a year injured was a mistake on the part of manager Didier Deschamps.
“I said many times that if France wanted Diaby for their game in Spain [a World Cup qualifier on October 16], they should not take him for Finland and Russia [last month's qualifiers],” he is quoted as saying in the Daily Mirror.
“They could have taken him but not played him, because the guy has been out for a year, played [just] four or five games [in the 2011-12 season].
“It is really frustrating, because once you think you get there [in getting Diaby fit], it happens again. I think it was a mistake to play him with the French national team.”
The three weeks Wenger claimed Diaby would be injured for see him miss France’s next qualifiers, as well as Arsenal fictures against West Ham United, Norwich City and possibly Schalke 04 in the Champions League, as well as tonight’s clash with Olympiacos.
Not only did Wenger bemoan Diaby’s international call-up, he claimed the need to substitute him cost the north Londoners immediately.
“It is a blow, yes. Not only because we lost a good player, but because he has qualities that the other players haven’t to got,” added the French tactician.
“For example, on Saturday when he moved out Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain comes in, takes his position straight away and lose the ball on set-pieces.
“This [the cross from which Fernando Torres scored Chelsea's first goal] is a ball Diaby would have won easily, because he has the size.”
The loss of the talented midfielder was further compounded this week when the Gunners’ vice-captain, Mikel Arteta, was struck with an ankle injury that could rule him out of the game against the Greek champions at Emirates Stadium.